Home > Musings > Started non-traditional fantasy Orcs by Nicholls

Started non-traditional fantasy Orcs by Nicholls

I’ve just started to read Orcs by Stan Nicholls via Amazon.com’s Kindle for iPhone interface (on my iPod Touch).

The omnibus edition of Orcs being sold in the US through the Publisher Orbit is an extremely handsome trade paperback, notwithstanding the grim face of a warrior Orc staring back at the reader. The cover has a very fine tactile feel and the page edges are colored pinkish-red. The typestyle is large and a very readable font. Nicholls’ trilogy, Bodyguard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder, and Warriors of the Tempest are included.

Although I am a traditionalist when it comes to fantasy novels, it is always refreshing when an author sets a tried-and-true concept on its ear (c.f. Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward). In this case, orcs are the protagonists.

I’m very impressed with Nicholls writing style so far. After having read the blurb on the back of the book and some of the reviews and recommendations, I was not surprised that the opening scenes describe a purposefully unnamed invading force and “defenders”. Not until the battle ends does Nicholls identify which side are humans and which are the orcs.

I was, however, a little taken aback by two early incidents: the orcish band of warriors under the influence of some sort of drug they captured in the raid and the overt sexual scene between the evil Queen Jennesta and a captured enemy. I suspect some of my surprise is the puritan American in me…. but readers should be aware.

One last comment from my early reading: I was very amused by the traditional warband marching song introducing the first book, which is obviously a parody of the Napoleonic era sea shanty, “Spanish Ladies”.

“Oh we’ll rant and we’ll roar like true orcish warriors
We’ll rant and we’ll roar for all that we be
We’ll march back from yonder all laden with plunder
Oh what treasures, what pleasures, then you will see”

On one last note, I am very anxious to receive my Kindle 2: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) tomorrow in the mail. I’ve used various Palm devices and my iPod Touch to read books in the past but this will be the first dedicated reader that I’ve used. I’ll post a review of my impressions over the next week or so.


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